Blessed Are the Peacemakers

In light of Matt Foreman's insightful article, it seems appropriate to look at some practical advice from The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson.[1] Here's what Watson had to say about becoming a peacemaker:


How shall we attain to peaceableness?

1. Take heed of those things which will hinder it. There are several impediments of Peace which we must beware of; and they are either outward or inward.

a) Outward; as whisperers (Rom. 1:29)

There are some who will be buzzing things in our ears purposely to exasperate and provoke; among these we may rank Tale-bearers (Lev. 19:16). The Tale-bearer carries reports up and down, the Devil finds his Letters by this Post; the Tale-Bearer is an Incendiary; he blows the coals of contention. "Do you hear," saith he, "what such a one saith of you? Will you put up such a wrong? Will you suffer yourself to be so abused?" Thus saith he by throwing in his fireballs, foment differences, and set men together by the ears; we are commanded indeed to provoke one another to love (Heb. 10:24), but nowhere to provoke anger: We should stop our ears to such persons as are known to come on the Devil's errand.

b) Take Heed of Inward Hinderances[2] to Peace, such as:

i) Self-Love (φιλαυτία). "Men shall be lovers of themselves" (2 Tim. 3:2): And it follows, they shall be fierce (ἀνήμεροι; v. 3) The setting-up of this Idol of Self, hath caused so many Law-suits, Plunders, Massacres in the World. "All seek their own" (Phil. 2:21). Nay; it were well if they would seek but their own. Self-love angles away the Estates of others, either by force or fraud. Self-love sets up Monopolies and Enclosures; it is a Bird of prey, which lives upon rapine. Self-love cuts asunder the bond of Peace. Lay aside Self. The Heathens could say "We are not born for ourselves" (Non nobis solum nati).

ii) Pride (ἀλαζονεία). "He that is of a proud heart, stirreth up strife" (Prov. 28:26). Pride and Contention, like Hippocrates Twins, are both born at once. A proud man thinks himself better than others, and will contend for superiority. "Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence" (3 John 9): A proud man would have all strike sail to him. Because Mordecai would not give Haman the Cap and Knee, he gets a bloody warrant signed for the death of all the Jews (Esther 3:9). What made all the strife between Pompey and Caesar, but pride? Their Spirits were too high to yield one to another. When this wind of pride gets into a mans heart, it causeth sad Earthquakes of division. The Poets fain, that when Pandora's Box was broke open, it filled the world with disease. When Adam's pride had broken the Box of Original Righteousness, it hath ever since filled the world with debates and dissensions. Let us shake off this viper of Pride; humility solders Christians together in Peace.

iii) Envy (φθόνος). Envy stirreth up strife; the Apostle hath linked them together (1 Tim 6:4). Envy cannot endure a Superiour; this made the Plebeian faction so strong among the Romans, they envied their Superiours: an envious man seeing another to have a fuller Crop, a better Trade, is ready to pick a quarrel with him. "Who can stand therefore envy?" (Prov. 27:4). Envy is a vermin that lives on blood; take heed of it; peace will not dwell with this inmate.

iv) Credulity (ταχυτείθεια). "The Simple believeth every word" (Prov. 14:15). A credulous man is a kin to a fool; he believes all that is told him, and this doth often created differences. As it is a sin to be a Tale-bearer, so it is a folly to be a Tale-believer. A wise man will not take a report at the first bound, but will sift and examine it before he gives credit to it.

2. Let Us Labour for those things which will maintain and cherish peace, such as:

a) Faith. Faith and peace keep house together. Faith believes the Word of God; the Word saith, "Live in peace" (2 Cor. 13:11). And as soon as faith sees the King of heavens Warrant, it obeys. Faith persuades the soul that God is at peace; and it is impossible to believe this, and live in variance. Nourish faith; faith knits us to God in love, and to our Brethren in peace/

b) Christian-Communion. There should not be too much strangeness among Christians. The primitive Saints had their love-feasts (ἀγάπαι). The Apostle exhorting to peace, brings this as an Expedient: "Be ye kind one to another" (Eph. 4:32).

c) Look not upon the failings of others, but their graces; there is no perfection here. We read of the "spots of God's children" (Deut. 32:5). The most golden Christians are some grains too light. Oh let us not so quarrel with the infirmities of others, as to pass by their virtues. If in some things they fail, in other things they excel. 'Tis the manner of the world to look more upon the Sun in an Exlipse, than when it shines in its full luster.

d) Pray to God that he will send down the Spirit of Peace into our hearts. We should not, as Vultures, prey one upon another, but pray one for another. Pray that God will quench the fire of contention, and kindle the fire of compassion in our hearts one to another.

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[1] Thomas Watson, The Beatitudes, or a Discourse Upon Part of Christ's Famous Sermon on the Mount (London, 1671). 

[2] Original: "lets" (credit to Banner's 2014 edition for clarifying). 


Ben Ciavolella is a student at Westminster Theological Seminary. He works as a publishing assistant for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.


Related Links

"Applying the Beatitudes" by Matt Foreman

"Patience and Maturity" by Gabriel Williams

The Sermon on the Mount by James Boice

Sanctification: The Long Journey Home [ Audio Disc  |  MP3 Disc  |  Download ]

A Small Book about A BIG Problem by Ed Welch

Sanctification, ed. by Jeffrey Stivason  [ Print Booklet  |  PDF Download ]

Ben Ciavolella